British Secret Projects 1: Jet Fighters Since 1950

Published: November 18th, 2017     
Product Image
Front cover
Author: Tony Buttler
Reviewed by: 
Frank Landrus, IPMS# 35035
Company: Crécy Publishing, Ltd
ISBN #: 978-1-91080-905-1
E-Book ISBN #: 1910809055
Other Publication Information: Hard Bound ; 8.5” x 11”, 344 pages
Price: $44.95
Product / Stock #: British Secret Projects 1

Tony Buttler was born in 1956 and joined High Duty Alloys in Redditch in 1974 as a metallurgist. For nearly 20 years he was closely involved in the testing of aluminum and titanium airframe and engine components for many of the world's most important airplanes. It was during this timeframe that his interest in military aircraft grew into a passion. Since 1995, Tony has been a freelance aviation historian, with this book being his twenty-sixth major release. He has also written many titles for the Warpaint series of monographs as well as many articles for most of the popular historical aviation magazines.

The cover painting by Daniel Uhr depicts Armstrong-Whitworth AW.169s going into action. The rear cover features a black and white photograph of the Gloster Javelin prototype, WD804; a drawing of the Supermarine Type 559, and a color illustration of the P.1216 project. I counted 109 black and white photographs, 168 color pictures, and 219 black and white general arrangement drawings on 344 glossy pages. Each design discussed is also accompanied by a short specifications table calling out wingspan, length, gross wing area, t/c ratio, gross weight, power plant, maximum speed/height, and armament where known.

This is the second edition of Tony Buttler's first book that was published in 2001 by Midland. The first edition was a 176 page book that was a success and helped launch Buttler's career as an author. This second edition is completely redesigned and revised to the point it is now 344 pages, nearly double the page count of the first edition. This growth is largely due to the vast amount of information that has been released since 2001. This edition is basically grouped around the British tender design competitions and the complexity of the political decisions from the Air Ministry. All of your favorites are here, plus much, much more. Just take a look at the following table of contents to see for yourself. The Chapters include:

Introduction to the Second Edition

  • Acknowledgements
  • Chapter One: A Long Haul - Naval All-Weather Fighter Development: 1945 to 1957
    • N.40/46 (and Operational Requirement OR.246)
    • Blackburn B.67
    • Gloster P.231
    • Westland N.40/46 [Page 17]
    • Blackburn B.67
    • de Havilland DH.110
    • Fairey N.40/46
    • Westland N40.46
    • Fairey N.14/49 Twin Engine
    • Fairey N.14/49 Single Engine
    • N.114T (and NR/A.14)
    • Blackburn and General B.89
    • Fairey N.114
    • Saunders-Roe P.148
    • Short P.D.5
    • Westland N.114
    • de Havilland DH.116 Super Venom
    • de Havilland DH.110 Sea Vixen
  • Chapter Two: Shipborne Supermarines - Naval Day Interceptors: 1945 to 1957
    • Supermarine Type 505
    • Supermarine Type 508
    • Supermarine Type 525 and 544 Scimitar
    • Supermarine 562 [Page 43]
  • Chapter Three: Day Fighters for the RAF - Land-Based Fighter Progress: 1946 to the mid-1950s Part 1
    • F.43/46 (and OR.228)
    • Gloster P.234
    • Hawker P.1054
    • Hawker P.1061
    • Supermarine Type 508 Variant
    • Martin-Baker F.43/46
    • Gloster P.248 and P.250
    • Gloster P.258 and P.259
    • Hawker P.1064
    • Hawker P.1065
    • Hawker P.1063 (?)
    • F.3/48 (but still OR.228)
    • Hawker P.1067 Hunter
    • Gloster P.275
    • Supermarine Type 526
    • Supermarine Type 541 Swift
  • Chapter Four: Night Fighters for the RAF - Land-Based Fighter Progress: 1946 to the mid-1950s Part 2
    • F.44/46 (and OR.227)
    • de Havilland DH.110
    • Gloster P.228
    • Gloster Delta Wing F.44/46
    • Hawker P.1056
    • Hawker P.1057
    • Supermarine Type 511
    • F.4/48
    • Gloster P.272
    • Gloster P.279
    • Gloster P.280
  • Chapter Five: Advanced Versions - Developments of the Standard Fighters: 1950 to 1956
    • de Havilland DH.110
    • Supermarine Type 576
    • Hawker P.1083
    • Supermarine Type 545
    • Gloster G.A.6 Thin Wing Javelin
    • Gloster P.356 [Page 96]
    • Gloster P.370 Series
    • Gloster P.376
    • Gloster G.A.8 Project Guardian
  • Chapter Six: Transonic Research - Breaking the 'Sound Barrier': 1943 to 1957
    • Armstrong Whitworth AW.58
    • Boulton Paul P.113 and P.114
    • Bristol 177
    • English Electric P.1
    • Fairey Supersonic Design
    • Gloster P.284 and P.285
    • Hawker P.1069, P.1070, and P.1071
    • Armstrong Whitworth AW.58 Developments
    • Fairey ER.103 Delta 2
    • English Electric P.1
    • Short S.B.5
  • Chapter Seven: Progression to Mach 2 - High-Speed Research: 1956 to 1962
    • ER.134T
    • Armstrong Whitworth AW.166 [Page 131]
    • Boulton Paul P.128
    • Bristol Type 188
    • English Electric P.6
    • Hawker P.1096 and P.1087
    • Saunders-Roe P.163
    • Vickers (Supermarine) Type 553
    • Gloster P.362
  • Chapter Eight: The Ultimate Interceptor - High-Altitude Fighters: 1953 to 1959
    • F.155T (and OR.329)
    • Armstrong Whitworth AW.169
    • de Havilland DH.117
    • English Electric P.8
    • Fairey F.155
    • Fairey Delta 2 Development
    • Fairey F.155 (All-Weather)
    • Hawker P.1103
    • Saunders-Roe P.187
    • Vickers (Supermarine) Type 559
    • Avro 729
    • Hawker P.1116
    • Hawker P.1121 [Page 175]
  • Chapter Nine: First Steps to Tornado - The First Fighters with Variable Sweepback: 1948 to 1952
    • General Aircraft 'Transformable Delta' Supersonic Aircraft
    • Blackburn & General Transonic Aircraft
    • Blackburn & General 'Mk.3' Projects
    • Baynes Supersonic Aircraft
    • ER.110T
    • Armstrong Whitworth AW.59
    • Blackburn B.90
    • Boulton Paul P.121
    • Bristol Type 183
    • Saunders-Roe P.149
    • Panavia Tornado ADV
  • Chapter Ten: Rocket Fighters - Rocket and Mixed-Power Fighters: 1952 to 1957
    • F.124T (and OR.301)
    • Avro 720
    • Blackburn B.97
    • Bristol 178
    • Fairey F.124
    • Saunders-Roe P.154
    • Westland F.124
    • Boulton Paul P.122
    • Short P.D.7 and P.D.701
    • Avro 720
    • Saunders-Roe SR.53
    • Avro 726
    • F.177D (and OR.337)
    • Saunders-Roe P.177/SR.177
  • Chapter Eleven: A Quiet Period - No More Fighters and a Reorganized Industry: 1957 to 1974
    • OR.346
    • AW.406 (and OR.356)
    • British Aircraft Corporation (English Electric) Naval Lightning
    • British Aircraft Corporation (Vickers) Type 583
    • BAC (Vickers) Type 583V
    • Hawker (Siddeley) P.1154
    • HAS/Bae Sea Harrier
  • Chapter Twelve: Nonconformists - Ideas Outside the General Trend
    • Armstrong Whitworth AW.163
    • Folland Lightweight Fighters
    • OR.303
    • Folland Fo.141 Gnat
    • Folland Fo.143 Gnat Mk.2
    • Folland Gnat Mk.4 and Mk.5
    • Gloster P.293
    • Saunders-Roe P.121 Hydro-Ski Naval Fighter
    • Undercarriage-less Fighters and Flexible Decks
    • Supermarine Type 543 [Page 245]
    • Westland W.37 Fighter-Striker
  • Chapter Thirteen: Trails to Typhoon - A Return to Real Fighters: 1975 to 2000
    • AST.396
    • AST.403
    • British Aircraft Corporation Studies
      • P.91 and P.92
      • P.93
      • P.95 and P.96
      • P.97 'Super Jaguar'
      • Tornado Development
    • Hawker Siddeley Studies
      • HS.1200
      • HS.1201
      • HS.1202
      • HS.1204
      • HS.1205
      • HS.1206
      • HS.1207
    • BAe P.96F
    • ECF
    • ECA
    • BAe P.110
    • ACA
    • FBW/ACT Jaguar
    • EAP
    • Eurofighter Typhoon
    • BAe P.106
  • Chapter Fourteen: Vertical Take-Off Research - Steps Beyond Harrier: 1977 to the 1980s
    • BAe Warton P.103
    • BAe Kingston P.1212
    • BAe Warton P.109
    • BAe Kingston P.1214
    • BAe Kingston P.1216 [Page 289]
    • BAe Warton P.112
    • BAe Warton P.115
    • BAe P.1230
    • BAe P.116
    • Lockheed Martin F-35 Lighting II
  • Appendix One: Post-War British Fighter Projects Summary
  • Appendix Two: Post-War British Fighter Project Specifications
  • Appendix Three: 1950s British Fighter Prototype Contracts
  • Glossary
  • Select Bibliography
  • Index

Tony Buttler also includes a listing of all British fighter projects since 1950 by company and a separate appendix sorted by the British Ministry specifications. I was impressed with the organization and depth that Buttler was able to apply to this subject. It's hard to pick a favorite section, but the chapter on 'Rocket Fighters' was quite interesting, especially the Westland F.124 proposal that included a 'Delanne Design' rocket fighter that was quite different from the single delta winged aircraft of the era.

His research into the documentation is refreshing and allows a clearer picture to follow the thought process as each design progressed. Since many of these 'paper' projects were top secret, many did not survive, especially since the losers generally trashed their proposals as they went on to the next specification. Buttler is able to weave in a tremendous amount of design studies from the competition as a whole in conjunction with the political drama of the day and still manage to provide a compelling and readable storyline. Impressive.

My thanks to Specialty Press and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great book.

Highly recommended!

  • Rear Cover
    Rear Cover
  • Sample page 17
    Sample page 17
  • Sample page 43
    Sample page 43
  • Sample page 96
    Sample page 96
  • Sample page 131
    Sample page 131
  • Sample page 175
    Sample page 175
  • Sample page 245
    Sample page 245
  • Sample page 289
    Sample page 289